How to Support a Disabled Family Member

Did you know that one billion people (or 15% of the world’s population) live with some sort of disability? This means that we all know and love someone who requires help due to their disability. Disabilities come in different shapes and cause people to require a range of assistance. If you have a loved one living with a disability, it’s only natural that you want to help them face the challenges of the day. But how do you offer the right kind of support? 

Listen to them and pay attention

The most important tip for carers is to listen and pay attention. This way, you will find out everything you need to know about your loved one’s disability and their needs and whether to focus more on physical or emotional assistance. In their everyday talk, they will tell you about things they need help with (or gesture if they can’t talk) and you will catch up on it if you keep your eyes open. 

Take a personalized approach

Every time you try to help, keep your disabled person’s needs in mind first. No matter if you’re offering help with hygiene, cooking and feeding or just hang out with them and keep them company, your support should be tailored according to their needs. If you rush to help with something they can do it can come off as insulting and not too helpful. 

Be responsive

Asking for help is never easy, so when a person asks for it, make sure to react as fast as you can. By being responsive, you will give your beloved family member with disabilities a green light to be comfortable and seek your assistance in the future too. Try to be quick (or they might not need your help later), kind (don’t make them feel guilty) and enthusiastic (if you’re a downer, people might feel like they are burdening you). 

Ask for help

No matter how much you want to be of assistance, sometimes you don’t have time or energy to help. In some cases, what you can provide might not be what the person you care about needs. If that happens, don’t hesitate to ask for outside help. Depending on your disabled person’s needs, collectives like Bridges Alliance can provide people with disabilities and their families and friends with a world of new adventures. Their educated staff offers therapeutic help, disability support, independent living support and many more things. These kind people can help with many responsibilities and provide everyone with fun and relaxation. 

Celebrate their achievements

People with disabilities might face many obstacles and limitations, but don’t focus on them. Instead, celebrate all the things they can do. Give your loved one a voice to speak about their milestones and achievements. Also, focus on teaching them to be independent so they can be proud of all the things you know how to do. This sort of emotional help goes a long way. 

Give them space

One of the hardest things to deal with when living with a disability is the loneliness it causes. To counter that negative feeling, spend as much time as you can with your disabled family member. However, keep in mind that people living with disabilities also need their “me time”. Actually, disabilities can be exhausting which means people need extra time to rest, relax and recharge. 

Stay prepared 

Disasters and conflicts often start without any warning. While you might be able to react quickly in case of an emergency, your disabled loved one would need more time and help to stay safe and protected. Get informed about different emergencies that might occur in your area and practice a few runs with your family member with disabilities to ensure they are prepared. This type of support is lifesaving and crucial if you want to protect them and offer them peace of mind. 

There are many ways, physical and emotional, that you can assist someone with disabilities. Do your best to listen to these tips and you’ll be a dream carer and assistant to your loved ones.

About the author:

Peter is a fashion stylist and a writer from Brisbane, Australia. After graduating from Australian Institute of Creative Design he worked as a fashion stylist for few local fashion events. Beside fashion and styling, he enjoys traveling around exotic destinations and discovering new vintage stores. He’s future plans are in creating his personal styling business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.